The question is coming, it’s a matter of when and not if. Charlie Taylor is coming back from his injury and could even play a part in Friday nights game at Birmingham. That question is, does Charlie Taylor replace Gaetano Berardi at left back?
Charlie Taylor’s injury was all a bit strange. he was taken off in the second half of the Rotherham game at Elland Road as a precaution and now, nearly two months later he is now available to come back into the team, but should he given the recent whole hearted performances from Gaetano Berardi? Berardi isn’t the first choice right back after the signing of Luke Ayling but he has certainly played his part this season, filling in at right-back at times and really stepping up in the absence of Charlie Taylor.
Taylor certainly adds more going forward, his ability to get to the by-line and whip a ball in is top at this level and his advantage over Berardi is very simple in this situation, Charlie Taylor is left footed. Berardi is just as good at getting up and down the flank but when it comes to the final delivery that’s his only issue. Can he counter that? You bet he can, on Saturday he stepped inside and swung a ball in for striker Chris Wood who controlled and scored from close range. Berardi down the right is more suited but what he brings to the team is fight, hunger, desire and passion as much as any other player seen at Leeds United in years, rivalled only by the likes of Pontus Jansson, and the pair are currently playing directly next to each other.
Berardi does have strengths that he beats Taylor on. His passion and desire certainly does, Taylor hasn’t been quite the same since his transfer request was rejected by the football club. That’s not to say he hasn’t been playing well but it was quite clear that his % of commitment had dropped slightly. He was often criticised for pulling out of 50/50 tackles and holding onto the ball for too long in the early stages of the season. As the team began to improve so did Taylor in those aspects but there was always a feeling he wasn’t putting everything into the game.
Who would I pick? personally I think Charlie Taylor is the better footballer but I would have Gaetano Berardi in the side as it stands. The reason for this is that we aren’t exactly playing great football, we are scrapping for victories home and away and the battles are just as important as the level of performances. Berardi offers that in abundance and despite some weaknesses in his forward play he does such a good job defensively. It would be very harsh to drop him for the returning Charlie Taylor. Have your vote below.